Inherited Craziness
A place to share all the nuts found on my family tree

Sunday 11 June 2023

John Sweeney and Anne Elizabeth Gabbaday

St Leonard, Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch - East end
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © John Salmon -

John Sweeney married Anne Elizabeth Gabbaday (b. 23 Feb 1811), daughter of John Benbow Gabbedy and Isabella Cleghorn, on 11 Jun 1832, at St LeonardShoreditch (often known simply as Shoreditch Church - this is the church mentioned in the line "When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch" from the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons). Witnesses to the marriage were Anne's brother, Henry Gabbedy (sic), Ann Goose and Geo. Garrow.

Census listings consistently show John as having been born in 1809, in St George's, Middlesex (St George in the East), but I've not been able to find a baptism there for him. (Some people accept a baptism of a John Sweeney in 1809, in Westminster, but I'm not convinced it's the right one - it's the wrong place entirely - just because it's the only one online.) Likewise, there are no records to definitely connect him to Ireland, that I can identify. Besides, knowing the way families named children in those days and, given that Anne's mother was Isabella, I'd put money on John's mother being an Eliza.

John and Ann had five children: 
  1. Maria Eliza Isabella Sweney, bap. 11 Jan 1835 at St Dunstan's, Stepney
  2. Unnamed Male Sweeney b. 1838 M Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 02 Page 390, mother GABBEDEY. Died 1838 M Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 02 Page 493.
  3. John Henry Charles Sweeney, b. 11 May 1839, at 1 George Place, White Horse Street, Ratcliff (1839 J Quarter in STEPNEY Vol 02 Page 466)
  4. Mary Ann Sweeney, b. 10 Dec 1848, bap. 19 Jan 1860 at St John the Evangelist, Limehouse
  5. Matilda Sweeney b. 8 Sep 1851, bap. 19 Jan 1860 at St John the Evangelist, Limehouse (Died, aged 16, in 1866)
On John Henry Charles' birth certificate, his father's occupation is Ship's Joiner. His mother is clearly listed as "Ann Sweeney, formerly Gabbedy". 

In 1841 living in Pleasant Row, Brewers Place, Stepney were John Swaney (sic) (32) Carpenter; son John (2), wife, Ann (29), daughter Maria (7). 

Listing for John and Ann 'Swaney' in Stepney in 1841

(Throughout her life, my mother had been most pedantic that her maiden name was spelled Sweeney “with three Es.” Of course it should have occurred to me to ignore that and, lo and behold, I find that most of the records before 1901 are listed with the spelling of Sweney, sometimes Sweeny and even Swaney. Important lesson: never, ever trust 'family stories'.)

By 1851, in Ocean Street, Mile End Old Town, were John Sweeny (42), Carpenter, Ann (39), Maria (17), John (9), Mary Ann (5) and Matilda (0).

Then Ann Sweeny died, in Whitechapel, in 1855, she was 44.

In 1861 at 107, North Street, Limehouse. John Sweney (52), Carpenter and Joiner, still considered himself married (rather than widowed), Mary Ann (13) and Matilda (10), as well as son-in-law Richard Ford (27) Labourer Blacksmith, Maria Ford (24) and grandson, Richard Ford (6 mts).

John had both girls baptised in 1860, five years after their mother's death, but Matilda Sweeney died, in Whitechapel, aged just 16, in 1866.

In 1871, John (63), still working as a carpenter, had moved in with his son and his family in Stephen Cottages, James Street, St Anne Limehouse, Stepney. 

John Sweeney died, in Stepney, aged 71, in 1878.